“You Bettor, you better, you bet!”
If you like betting action, you have to love Saratoga Race Course, which will offer fans plenty of wagering options this meet.
Already in place are rolling doubles and superfectas on all races that qualify.
Saturday, there will be an all-stakes $500,000 guaranteed Pick 4 on races 7-10, beginning at 4:12 p.m.
This week, the Sixty Minute 6 will start with Saratoga’s sixth race (3:39 p.m.), Monmouth’s seventh (3:50 p.m.), Delaware’s eighth (3:56 p.m.), Philly’s ninth (4:01 p.m.), Saratoga’s seventh (4:12 p.m.) and Delaware’s ninth (4:28 p.m.).
This wager will be offered every Saturday through August 30.
And don’t forget, the New York Racing Association again offers simulcast wagering from racetracks in the United Kingdom during the mornings at Saratoga Race Course. Fans are again be able to wager on races from Catterick, Sandown, Thirsk, York, Newmarket, Goodwood, Nottingham, Haydock, Redcar, Pontefract, Carlisle, Newbury, Musselburgh, Warwick, Kempton Park, Chester, Hamilton and Salisbury. The designated area for wagering is to the right inside the Union Avenue, East Avenue gate.
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Trainer Steve Asmussen reported this morning that Ocean Colors, who faded to last as the 6-5 favorite in Wednesday’s Grade 3 Schuylerville Stakes, appeared to be all right after having experienced muscle spasms.
“She seems to be okay,” said Asmussen. “We will continue to do some testing. She was very stressed after the race, but now seems all right.”
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Desert Party, winner of Thursday’s Grade 2 Sanford Stakes, came out of the race in great order, trainer Eoin Harty said this morning.
“He’s super, thank goodness,” said Harty of the son of Street Cry, for whom Darley Stable paid $2.1 milllion earlier this year. “It was a good day.”
- Sunday, Harty will saddle Tiz Now Tiz Then, a winner of three straight after losing his first six starts, in the Grade 2 Jim Dandy Stakes, a traditional prep for the Grade 1, $1 million Travers Stakes presented by Shadwell Farm on August 23. Also being pointed toward the “Midsummer Derby” is Santa Anita Derby winner Colonel John, who is stabled at Del Mar. He worked a half-mile this morning on Del Mar’s fast all-weather track in :49.20, handily.
“He'll be arriving here in the middle of August,” said Harty.
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Hall of Fame trainer Nick Zito and Kassem Masri, owner of the Jim Dandy-bound Anak Nakal, were enjoying the sunshine railside at the Oklahoma training track this morning. On the track was a two-year-old half-brother to last year’s juvenile champion War Pass, named Ruler's Vision.
“He’s by Monarchos,” said Zito of the bay colt, who is out of the Mr. Prospector mare Vue. “He may run here later in the meet.”
As for War Pass, who has not raced since finishing second to Tale of Ekati in the Wood Memorial, Zito said a decision would not be made on his future until he talks with principal owner William S. Farrish.
Along with Anak Nakal, Zito will be saddling Belmont Stakes hero Da' Tara in the Jim Dandy, which he hopes will be a good prep for the Travers presented by Shadwell Farm on August 23. Those aren’t the only stakes-bound 3-year-olds in his barn. Zito is considering the August 3 Haskell at Monmouth Park for both Cool Coal Man, who won the Fountain of Youth earlier this year, and Truth Rules, winner of the Long Branch Stakes in New Jersey.
“They're both going to work tomorrow and after that we’ll decide,” he said.
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Fabulous Strike will be forced to miss the Grade 2 Alfred G. Vanderbilt Handicap on Saturday. The five-year-old son of Smart Strike would have carried top weight in the race (121 pounds) and probably gone off favored, but tore part of his frog (a section of the hoof) off during training earlier in the week.
This is especially unfortunate for trainer Todd Beattie and owner Tea Party Stable, who have suffered similar disappointment with their gelding in the past.
Last September, Fabulous Strike won the Grade 1 Vosburgh Stakes at Belmont Park by 5 1/4 lengths, propelling him to the top of the sprint division. Soon after, however, he came down with a lung infection and was taken out of training to recover, missing the Breeders’ Cup Sprint in the process.
The Vanderbilt still drew a very well-matched field of seven horses headed by former Eclipse champion sprinter Thor’s Echo and undefeated Bustin Stones.
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It has been nearly 25 years since Wesley Ward had ridden at Saratoga. While weight problems cut short Ward’s career as a jockey, he has remained in the game as a successful trainer.
That success continued Thursday when he teamed with jockey Elvis Trujillo to win two races, with Peleiu in the third race and Mine All Mine in the fifth race.
For the last 17 years, Ward, who was the Eclipse Award winner as an apprentice jockey and leading jockey at Aqueduct and the Meadowlands in 1984, has trained horses at Hollywood Park, Del Mar and Santa Anita. This year, Ward brought 20 horses to Saratoga in hopes of remaining competitive.
“Southern California is as tough as you can get when it comes to racing,” Ward said. “If you can be competitive in Southern California, you can compete anywhere. When I was out there, I learned how to train horses to win. I have some horses that can be competitive here. The condition book really fits some of my horses.”
During the last couple of years, Ward had been shipping in horses owned by himself, Ken Ramsey and others. In eight races last year, Ward won with one of his own horses – Intuition Magic – in a $65,000 maiden claiming race.
Ward suggested he would like to come back to New York full time.
“After spending 17 years in Southern California, I wanted to bring my family to Florida and start looking at the East Coast,” he said. “I would like to be at Belmont and Saratoga for most of the year and go to Florida during the winter.”
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Four graded stakes races, highlighted by next Saturday’s 83rd running of the Grade 1, $250,000 Test Stakes for three-year-old fillies at seven furlongs, headline the second week of the Saratoga Racecourse.
Eclipse Juvenile Filly Champion and Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Filly winner Indian Blessing leads the list of 15 nominations and is considered a likely candidate for the Test. Last year, Indian Blessing won her debut at Saratoga and followed that with a win the Grade 1 Frizette. She is also coming off a five-length victory in the Grade 1 Prioress at Belmont Park three weeks ago.
Other expected runners for the Test include J Z Warrior, Ms. Margaret H., Palanka City, Sweet Hope, and Tequilas Dayjur.
Multiple graded stakes winners Any Limit and Rite Moment are expected to meet again for Friday’s 17th edition of the Grade 2, $150,000 Honorable Miss Handicap for older fillies and mares at six furlongs.
Any Limit defeated Rite Moment over a muddy Belmont Park track in the Grade 2 First Flight Handicap on Independence Day. Miss Macy Sue also looks to make a return to the Honorable Miss after finishing fourth as the favorite in last year’s race.
Other probables include Graeme Six, winner of the Grade 3 Winning Colors Stakes at Churchill Downs, and Godolphin Racing’s Zada Belle. Your Flame in Me is considered as questionable for the Honorable Miss.
Next Sunday’s feature is the 24th running of the Grade 2, $150,000 Fourstardave Handicap for three-year-olds and upwards running a mile and a sixteenth over the Saratoga turf course.
- There are currently five horses being pointed for the Fourstardave: Elusive Fort SAF), Prince Rahy, Ruff and Ready, Thorn Song, and War Monger. Those questionable for the race include Danak (IRE), Jungle Fighter, Major Rhythm, Out of Control (BRZ), Shakis (IRE) and Stalingrad.
Also on next Sunday, Saratoga will offer its second giveaway of the meet with the traditional Saratoga t-shirt. With each paid admission while supplies last, Saratoga patrons will receive a black t-shirt with the Saratoga umbrella logo on the left side of the chest.
After trainer Carl Nafzger, jockeys Edgar Prado and Ismael “Milo” Valenzuela, and horses Inside Information, Ancient Title and Manila are inducted into the Grade 2, $150,000-added National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame on Monday, August 4, Saratoga will run the 24th edition of the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame Breeders’ Cup Stakes for three-year-olds on the turf at nine furlongs.
Grade 2 Lane’s End winner Adriano, along with El Sultry Sun, Field Sport, Sporting Art, Wesley, and Willsboro Point, is being considered for the race. Those remaining questionable include Meal Penalty and Ready’s Echo.
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Saratoga Race Course will honor the 35th anniversary of Secretariat’s Triple Crown year with a special autograph session and memorabilia sale on Saturday, August 2 at 11 am.
Secretariat’s retired Hall of Fame jockey, Ron Turcotte; Meadow Stable exercise riders Charlie Davis and Jim Gaffney; and a special appearance by retired jockey Jean Cruguet, who rode 1977 Triple Crown winner Seattle Slew, will be available at the Secretariat.com booth near the jockeys’ silks display.
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The New York Turf Writers Association will present filmmakers John and Brad Hennegan with its Presidents’ Award for notable achievement at the organization’s annual awards dinner on Monday, August 18th at the Saratoga National Golf Club. The Hennegans are being recognized for their critically acclaimed documentary “The First Saturday in May,” which received awards at both the Savannah and Austin film festivals.
The film, which is currently screening at the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame, chronicles the journey of six trainers as they ready their horses for Thoroughbred racing’s biggest prize, the Kentucky Derby. It has been called by many the greatest movie about racing ever made. The film uses its behind-the-scenes access to shed light on the care and preparation of the Thoroughbred, as well as the heartbreak and triumph of those participating on the game’s biggest stage. More information on the film can be found at thefirstsaturdayinmay.com.
The 85th NYTWA dinner will also honor such racing notables as 2007 Horse of the Year Curlin and Belmont Stakes-winning filly Rags to Riches; owners IEAH Stables, Albert Fried Jr., Zayat Stables and Adena Springs Farm; trainers Bill Mott, Larry Jones and Kiaran McLaughlin and jockey Cornelio Velasquez.
Tickets, which are $100, are available by calling Marea Chaveco at 718-659-2336 or by email at .